By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor
Some local residents in Boulder City, NV, would like to see trucks temporarily banned on the new Hoover Dam bypass until local traffic issues are sorted out. Truckers who had been forced to take a 75-mile detour until the new bridge opened in October say the idea of being forced back onto the detour is ludicrous.
A spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada said the complaints by local residents are not with the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge itself, but rather with the amount of traffic that dumps out onto two-lane roadways at Boulder City.
The commission, acting in conjunction with local businesses and residents, is preparing to ask the Federal Highway Administration to reinstate a detour route that truckers have been forced to use since 9/11 closed the Hoover Dam to trucks – at least until additional highway lanes are completed on U.S. 93.
Officials and truckers alike lauded the new bridge as a time-saver. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the new structure a “symbol of American ingenuity” in his Fastlane blog.
Truckers are against the idea of returning to the detour route as they traverse the Nevada-Arizona border.
“The main reason it was built was for the trucks,” trucker Mark Holloway of Beatty, NV, told Land Line. “They didn’t want them on the dam. Someone should have foreseen this way back in the planning stage.”
OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz says residents are forgetting that the route was heavily used by trucks prior to 9/11.
“People have got to put this in the proper context. Trucks used to go through Boulder City for years. It’s U.S. 93, not a state route, and it was only after 9/11 that trucks weren’t allowed on the Hoover Dam,” said Rajkovacz, a former long-hauler.
“We need to remind everybody that the trucks were there first. If trucks are banned, there is absolutely no point to even building the Hoover bypass.”
The $240 million bridge opened to traffic the third week of October. It stands 900 feet above the Colorado River on the tallest precast concrete columns ever constructed, according to the DOT.
See related articles:
Hoover Dam bypass gets rid of 75-mile detour
Hoover Dam bypass now open
Copyright 2010 by OOIDA